Primary sources can be
accounts by an eyewitness or the first recorder of an event
data obtained through original research
creative works such as poetry, music, or art
artifacts such as pottery, furniture, and buildings.
Secondary sources are works that
Purpose: to convey academic research.
Audience: educated people in the discipline, typically researchers themselves. Scientists; college and university professors
Conventions: highly structured organization; contains footnotes or works cited pages; published after review by experts in the field; technical or specialized language.
Trouble-Spots: content may be difficult for a lay-person to understand.
Purpose: to inform or to entertain.
Conventions: brief articles; contains easily-accessible language; usually written by journalists or professional writers.
Trouble-Spots: may not provide full context for the studies cited within articles.
Purpose: to convey research in a simplified form for practitioners.
Audience: specialized: professional workers in a field.
Conventions: contains some technical language or jargon but easily accessible by a college-educated audience; short and concise articles.
Trouble-Spots: some jargon terms may be unfamiliar to a lay-person; assumes common knowledge that may be not common to a reader. Press releases often indexed as trade journal articles.